Having lived in Amsterdam for more than 21 years, I know where to eat a good steak in the Dutch capital. Not that I am a big meat eater myself, but friends of mine are and we use to go to Piet de Leeuw every Friday evening for years. Both Loetje and Piet de Leeuw had the reputation of serving the best steak in town. Of The Netherlands even.
This all changed at the beginning of this year when the owner of Piet de Leeuw admitted to the Dutch newspapers they had has been selling horse fillets as beef steaks for more than 63 years. To be precise since 1949 when his father, a horse meat butcher, bought the premises. On their menu it said beef steak with horseradish sauce. Perhaps that was telling something. So now you understand why I am sharing Loetje’s steak recipe and not Piet de Leeuw’s.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator in time, so it will not be super cold if you put it in the pan. When you put it in the pan while cold, the cold meat will cool the butter, the steak will sear slowly and the meat juices will not be kept inside and the meat will go dry. Loetje seasons the meat before it goes into the pan. They believe that pre-seasoning the meat will give a tastier gravy.
Heat the pan and melt the margarine. Turn up the flame to high heat, so the butter starts sputtering. This butter will be the gravy , without adding anything to it, so make sure you will not burn it. Actually you cannot step away from the stove at this point.
When the butter starts sizzling, put the steaks in the pan. Keep the high heat up, so the meat sears quickly. After a few minutes (depending how well done you like your meat) you can turn the steaks. In order to get them brown evenly, you have to move the pan constantly. Loetje always uses thongs because if you use a fork, you’ll prick holes in your meat, the juices will run out and your meat will get tough and dry. The gravy should not be too dark brown. In order to ensure that the inside of the steak is hot enough, you can lower the fire the last two minutes.
The steak is done when it’s nicely browned all around and the inside is warm enough. Place the steak on a plate, pour a lot of gravy over it and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Loetje serves the steak with fries and a simple salad with mustard dressing. You can also serve it with fresh white bread to dip into the gravy. ?
Tip Loetje: “We fry the steaks in margarine, preferably the Blue Band brand (Dutch brand). It does not contain as much water and gives a beautiful, brown gravy. We use no detergent we just rinse the pan with cold water and we dry with paper towels”.